Review ·

Through my growing love affair with metal and hardcore, I've realized two things about screaming. First, there're as many different varieties of screams as there are ways of developing throat cancer. And second, whereas the best male hardcore vocalists make you think, Dude's crazy; a really great female screamer makes you think, Damn, that chick is S-E-X-Y.


Exhibit A: Red Knife Lottery's Ashley Chapman, who turns me on even as she's howling obsessive lyrics such as "He's coming to rape you/ His knife to your throat, so you will fall in love," from the opening track of the band's So Much Drama EP. Chapman knows how to capitalize on the elastic energy that this Milwaukee four-piece puts out. On "Call-Girls in Pink Hospitals," she catapults from melodic-punk sneering to muttered imprecations right before launching into a volley of screams and shouts at the song's ecstatic high-point. Sometimes mimicking Karen O's punky coquette, other times sounding as gnarled and throaty as Brody Dalle from the Distillers, Chapman has the charisma and raw talent that have made indie darlings out of lesser bands.

Problem is, if you listen to aggressive post-punk bands such as At the Drive-In or Pretty Girls Make Graves, you've heard this album already. Red Knife Lottery apes the Blood Brothers pretty shamelessly, down to the bizarro synthesizer interludes, strangely danceable rhythms and dada song titles. The Morse-code guitar riff that opens "Red Knives and Plastic Wives" is so similar to the one that starts the Brothers' "Ambulance vs. Ambulance" that the band members should've just paid for sampling rights and saved the time they took writing the damn thing. Unfortunately, Red Knife Lottery can't mimic its heroes' knack for memorable hooks -- a shame considering the strength of Chapman's singing voice.

Still, there are far worse acts to idolize than the Blood Brothers, and So Much Drama's six tracks display enough sincerity and invention to avoid blatant hero worship. Red Knife Lottery's aversion to linear verse/chorus structures works well for its twisted and twisting narratives, and guitarist Chris Hansen whips out a whole range of effects and prickly guitar lines (check the ending of the title track) that you rarely hear in this genre.

Best of all, the oldest member of the band is twenty-one, and this is a debut release. It took the Blood Brothers three albums to release a masterpiece. If the members of Red Knife Lottery keep digging deeper and honing their sound, they might just turn up a post-punk classic of their own.

Discuss this review at the Prefix Message Board

Album samples

Red Knife Lottery Web site

Uprising Records Web site

  • Samantha Brown Get Down! Get Down!
  • Red Knives and Plasic Wives
  • Magnificent Ghost
  • Call-Girls in Pink Hospitals
  • So Much Drama
  • Love to the Sound Emergency
Jamie Lidell - Multiply Bjork Drawing Restraint 9

* They don't rip off of Blood Brothers because Blood Brothers use synths in a lot of their songs and Red Knife Lottery did it for the first 20 seconds of ONE SONG. Not to mention that for a male the Blood Brothers lead singer is blown away by Red Knife's lead singer, even without the At-the-Drive-In riffs.

Pretty girls make graves & ATDI don't create the atmoshpere of hard rock embalmed in dynamic tempo punk emotions. If anything, the latter two bands come up on it, and their prog rock senses lead them to other dynamics such as vocal reverb and ambient effects. This album has nothing of that sort and to say you heard this album already is a gross generalization of how good this band is.

To say that they stole the riff from Brothers only exemplifies your bias for that band because that riff has been used in pop-punk since early 90's ( and probably way before then).

If anything, this album is amazing. Everything you said showed that you really overlooked what these guys can do, and don't realize that the prog-neo rock the Blood Brothers and ATDI produce are nowhere in bounds to Red KNife Lottery. Shame on you for divulging these correlations without realizing a lot of these dynamics existing before either of these bands.

What is worst about this, is that their lyrics are insanely intense. And from what you wrote, those lyrics in themselves should automatically give this band 6 points. Seldom do you find lead singers ( especially female and underage) push great emotion behind decent lyrics. If you want to have at it, my email is info AT juuble Dot com. I think you should rewrite this review, and actually give the CD the full listen it deserves.


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